In Part I of our blog series on landlords and pets, we discussed some good reasons why landlords should accept pets when renting their properties out to tenants who have them. Today, we will talk about pet damage and how to minimize the chance that a tenant with pets will cause harm to your property.

Pet Damage – Minimizing damage to your property

Maybe you just put down new carpet, or you have installed gorgeous bamboo floors and you do not want to run the risk of having an animal scratch up the floors or chew on the carpet. Those are understandable and legitimate concerns. You should take comfort in the fact that it is extremely rare for the costs of pet damage to ever exceed the security deposit that a renter pays. Therefore, pets are actually a very low risk. If they damage a carpet or scratch up a floor, you can easily pay for the necessarily repairs from the deposit that you collect from your tenant.

This does not mean you have to throw open your doors to pets of all kinds. You must accept the right kinds of pets in the right ways.

Minimize potential damage by following these three rules to accepting pets as a landlord:

  1. Consider the pet owner. Property managers have this saying: “As go the owners, so go their pets.” This means that you can usually predict the behavior of a pet from the behavior of that pet’s owner. When a tenant applies to rent your property, get to know that person as much as you can. Conduct a thorough background check and get rental references. If the background check comes back clear and your research shows that the tenant is responsible and reputable, you can probably expect that any pets he or she has will also be clean and responsible.
  2. Implement an age requirement. It is perfectly acceptable to require that the pets are mature and house trained. Young pets actually tend to be the animals that urinate on the carpets and chew on the furniture. When you stipulate that any pets in your property are older and well trained, you can be sure that your risk and damage will be minimized.
  3. Stick to animals you know. Allowing cats and dogs will cover most of the renters who are looking for a home that welcomes pets. Do not allow any exotic reptiles or strange birds that are going to squawk and keep the neighbors awake and alarmed.

Remember that the security deposit should cover any potential damage from a dog or cat. If you are smart about the pets and the people that you rent your property to, having a pet policy in place will be a great draw for people who have them.

Contact us or give us a call if we can answer any questions at (813) 875-7474.


Part 1: Should Landlords Accept Pets?
Part 2:Pet Damage
Part 3: Pet Liability